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Baselines and Usage Profiles

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  rev. 2011-04-27        

The basis of utility tracking is the ability to compare utility usage and cost to past performance and to expected performance.  This is simple enough in concept, but is made more complicated by constantly changing background conditions that influence energy use.  Straight comparison of one invoice against another is generally not valid.  For example, weather is going to be colder or warmer than the comparison period.  Maybe the restaurant was a lot busier or the factory was running two shifts instead of three.  If you are trying to assess the actual results from energy conservation projects, these background factors can make the job very uncertain and ideally they can be removed from the comparison.

Whatever the situation, ManagingEnergy has the features to sort through the numbers and create statistically valid comparisons.


                                                                ManagingEnergy makes use of four distinct Usage Profiles, which are compared against one another to answer  performance-related questions.

Baseline Usage Profile  - What the usage would have been without any conservation work, but accounting for weather differences, production changes, and changes in the building use or structure.  This profile is calculated using the Baseline Model.

Typical Usage Profile - What the usage would have been if nothing had changed and the weather was absolutely typical for the location and time of year, calculated using the Baseline Model.  The typical usage profile is simply the baseline usage profile, but using typical weather conditions in place of current weather conditions.

Actual Usage Profile - Usage taken directly from utility invoices.


Available in Module 3 - Conservation and Renewal

Target Usage Profile - Expected usage, including the impact of energy conservation measures, again calculated using the Baseline Model.

These are a few of the most common questions you are likely to want to answer:

1.What would consumption have been with no changes in the building and absolutely typical weather? (Typical)
2.What was the impact of influences outside the control of the energy management team (weather, non-typical production differences, other building changes)? (Impact of External Influences = Baseline - Typical)
3.How did our energy consumption compare against the baseline? (Difference = Actual - Baseline)
4.What did we expect to save by implementing energy conservation measures? (Expected Savings = Baseline - Target)
5.What did we actually save from our energy conservation work? (Actual Savings = Baseline - Actual)
6.By how much did we exceed (or fall short of) the expected savings? (Variance = Target - Actual)

ManagingEnergy includes a number of reports designed to display the answers to these questions.  The output is presented in either physical units (kWh, m3, therms...) or local currency.


                                    What Weather Does the Baseline Use?

When we compare baseline and actual consumptions, we are comparing energy performance over two time periods of equal length.  The baseline is the building as it performed during an earlier baseline period but adjusted for current weather.  The actual is the building as it actually performed in the more recent period.

So the short answer is that the baseline and actual usage profiles both use the weather conditions over the actual period, which is a necessary condition for a valid comparison.

A Conservation and Renewal subscription allows users to define Opportunities, or Energy Conservation Measures, which ManagingEnergy uses to calculate the Target Usage Profile.


Related Topics

Baseline Model

Energy Accounting

Energy Accounting Challenges


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